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Crystal Palace lock horns with a needy Everton side on Saturday in the 27th gameweek of the Barclays Premier League. It will be a battle between two sides who have been resolute this season, seeing a gradual rise in the ladder under their new bosses.
While Everton are almost sure of not facing a drop, the Eagles are still finding their way out of the bottom, as they are winless in three, still hovering above the red zone, in 14th place, just three points off the relegation zone. It was an absolute thriller the last time when these two faced off against each other (a 2-2 draw), and this fixture will be nothing short of the same.
The big news is that the Eagles are biting their nails on Zaha’s knee injury which might rule him out for the majority of this term. According to reports, he will be out for a month or so. The fresh injury concern for the former England boss is of Martin Kelly, who was taken off against Newcastle United.
The long list of injuries concerning Crystal Palace includes Bakary Sako, Jeffrey Schlupp, Scott Dann, Julian Speroni, Ruben Loftus Cheek and Jason Puncheon.
Roy Hodgson may not shift around too much with his starting line-up. With a similar structure of four at the back, two holding midfielders along with one box to box player and a proficient trio up front could feature again. Like always under Roy, Palace may commit not more than four-five bodies forward to the final third and will supposedly look at counter-attacking options.
Has been a real asset this season. Made a fabulous double save last week and his side will need an inspiring performance again.
Very quick, skilled and talented, the loanee will play at right-back. He is an exciting young prospect.
Tomkins has added discipline and solidity to the lineup. He should start again as centre-half.
A fan favourite, a beast, Sakho is a sure starter in Kelly’s absence. He is strong, formidable, acrobatic and a monstrous presence in the air.
One of the best full-backs in the Premier League when it comes to going forward, Van Aanholt can storm down the pitch, get through fullbacks and cross with ease. He also adds a goal-scoring threat.
Needs to step up and be consistent throughout the 90 minutes of play and not depend on subtle moments of magic. He should play on the right-hand side of the midfield, probably in a more advanced than what the position may state.
Cabaye should play a central role and dictate the play in the middle third. His vision would be key to Palace’s success.
Milivojevic will add a defensive edge to the heart of the midfield. He has also sent a few crucial penalties into the back of the net.
McArthur is a fox in either box and goes about his business effectively and quietly. He keeps hold of the ball well and is a fine finisher.
The strong centre-forward should play alongside Benteke, probably down the left at times. He is an exciting commodity, someone who can wriggle past defences.
Needs to start finishing the easier chances as they will heavily depend on him in Zaha’s absence. He has been getting to the end of it but is not converting. Will be looking to address that.